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2022 NFL Draft: What ESPN’s draft predictor has Bears picking

ESPN’s algorithm has the Bears taking an offensive-heavy approach in the 2022 NFL Draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Central Michigan at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you’re following the 2022 NFL Draft, odds are you’ve already seen dozens of mock drafts and several big boards and breakdowns. But what do the data nerds say?

ESPN has put together their NFL Draft Day Predictor for the 2022 class, showcasing the statistical likelihood of teams selecting certain players at various points within the first three rounds.

This is ESPN’s description of the Draft Day Predictor and how its algorithm works:

The underlying model is based on prospect grades from Scouts Inc, expert mock drafts, and team needs along with a few other factors. The Predictor considers these factors in proportion to how accurate they have been in the past.

The Bears have three picks within the range the algorithm has predictions for, including two in Round 2. Though the predictor itself is based in subjectivity with the opinions of draft analysts, it’s still interesting to see how those opinions line up.

Here are the top five players ESPN has the Bears taking with each of their Day 2 picks.

No. 39 (Round 2)

  1. Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
  2. Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
  3. Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
  4. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
  5. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The players in the top five generally line up with what the Bears need on both sides of the ball. The cornerback position is a major issue, and the likes of Gordon and Elam both bring athletic upside to the table that could be too good for Chicago to pass up.

Both Raimann and Smith are physically-gifted offensive linemen who would be very good valur at No. 39, though Raimann propbably projects a bit better in a scheme heavier in wide-zone. The lone wide receiver in the top five is Watson, who could realistically go in Round 1 but also projects as a fantastic fit as a deep threat in Luke Getsy’s more vertical offense.

No. 48 (Round 2)

  1. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
  2. Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
  3. Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
  4. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
  5. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

The top two prospects at No. 48 were also top prospects for the No. 39 pick, with Elam jumping up the rankings due to a slightly lower ADP than Smith.

McCreary isn’t a perfect fit in an Eberflus-style defense due to a lack of length, but he’s an intelligent cornerback with a physical edge and good athletic ability. Moore would be a great addition as a slot receiver for the Bears, as his explosiveness, lateral mobility and precision as a route runner makes him one of the best separators in the 2022 draft. Hall is a creative runner with very good speed, agility and contact balance, but his being as high as he is for Chicago is surprising, given the presence of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert in the backfield.

No. 71 (Round 3)

  1. Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
  2. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
  3. Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
  4. Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
  5. John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

It’s generally not surprising that the Bears are projected to have an offense-heavy approach on Day 2 of the 2022 draft.

Faalele is a massive and powerful lineman with impressive mauler ability, though he probably doesn’t have the agility to thrive as much in a wide-zone scheme. Lucas could be a better fit in that regard, as he’s a better athlete and still possesses above-average play strength and a high football IQ. Tolbert is more of an ‘X’ receiver with contested-catch value and solid deep speed, while Metchie is a surgical route runner who showcased very good speed before his injury. Tight end isn’t the biggest need for the Bears, but getting a fluid and athletic player like Dulcich would form an intriguing young 1-2 punch with Cole Kmet.

If you haven’t already, make sure to purchase my 2022 NFL Draft guide on my Patreon! It has my entire big board, a 7-round mock draft, Bears positional outlooks, scouting reports for my top 30 prospects and more.